|Las Vegas Bay from High Point on Powerline Road|
|White Owl Nest|
|Hiking Shoreline Trail|
Okay. Let's talk. The short version of Shoreline / White Owl Canyon Loop is great for a stroll but then there is that 0.75 to 1 mile of bike path. The long version of White Owl Canyon has that 0.75 mile ascent stretch of gravel wash after the last scramble and
the steep and rather treacherous up and around the almost impossible slot in the descent wash. Hey! That's fine if that floats your boat! The version of Shoreline / White Owl Canyon that the Three Musketeers did today takes out a lot of the bike path, that stretch of gravel wash and the "not-so-fun" up and around the slot. Instead, it adds in a nice climb of 237' gain and views of the lake from the top! We also nailed down the route from the picnic area to the cars should you decide to forego the Hippie Canyon scramble.
|Lake Las Vegas Wash|
We parked at the end of the old Las Vegas Marina below the old ranger station on Lakeshore Road. This turnoff is 2.25 miles from the Lake Mead Parkway entrance fee booth to Lake Mead NRA.
|Dry Las Vegas Bay|
The Shoreline Trail begins to the right past the concrete barriers at the end of the boat ramp. A group of someones has been maintaining this trail and it is in tiptop condition as we speak. It follows the flow of the Lake Las Vegas Wash but most of the time, you cannot see the water. However, do look for water birds such as blue herons and white egrets like we saw today.
|Heading into White Owl Canyon|
|Entering White Owl Canyon|
The rock-lined trail continues around the rocks until the next picnic area is within sight above. Two different paths lead to White Owl Canyon entrance in the mud rocks and sandstone 0.25 mile up from the water. We followed the trail into the canyon and began to speak in hushed tones. The owl is rarely there but it will most definitely not be there if it hears you coming! Within the rounded mud walls, we were surprised to find that an owl's nest is not where it was for many years but on the other side a little deeper into the canyon. As you can see by the second photo, it is large and obvious to the seeker. There were two large bundles of fluff that had fallen out of the nest along the canyon bottom. Must be a very cozy nest!
|Inside White Owl Canyon|
We continued through the canyon, took our group photo and exited. A single culvert immediately opened wide. We crossed through underneath Lakeshore Road.
|White Owl Canyon|
Soon, we were passing through one of two culverts that passed underneath the River Mountains Loop Trail. Out the other side, we passed a rock-lined path turning to the right. This is the normal turn for the short loop as mentioned above. It leads up to the bike path.
|The Three Musketeers|
So, we continued up the gravel wash. During the next half mile, we weaved through some narrows and made two scrambles up the slippery stone all in the same wash without turning to the left. Above the second scramble, when the route for the longer hike version usually turns to the left, we continued straight running right into the old abandoned powerline road. We found one cairn here. Climbing for the next 0.3 mile, we gained that 237 feet. At the high point, the view of the lake, Lava Butte, snowy mountains, and colorful canyon were a wonderful addition to our hike. To the south, we could even see Bighorn Butte rising above the hills. The old road divides just after the high point. We stayed to the right and began hiking along the rim of the colorful canyon to our right.
|Large Chock Rock|
The road began a gradual descent with views of Lava Butte and Lake Las Vegas to our left. Since the road had not been hiked on enough, there were many small round rocks with which to contend!
|Weaving through the Scramble Slots|
When the descent became steeper, a switchback was offered. We took one of the shortcuts that had been cut into the earth and passed a pair of tall wooden powerline poles.
|The Second Scramble|
|Starting up the Powerline Road|
As the old road continued, it became less steep and we could see it heading toward the bike path. After a couple of wash dips, the road slowly dropped down to junction with the bike path just above its mile point 14.5. Another 0.15 mile and we were passing over Hippie Canyon. There is a way to get down into the wash to the left here. We chose to bypass Hippie Canyon and find that elusive perfect way to get back to the cars otherwise. The end-of-the-road gate was another 0.2 mile and we descended down to the right to cross Lakeshore Road and enter the picnic area turnout. This turnout has a long entrance road and sits up on the cliffs above the trailhead and our cars. After a side visit to the restroom, we explored around looking at all the descents.
|Starting down the Powerline Road|
We wanted to find out what the concrete ruins were all about at the very end of the peninsula, too. We hiked down the path at the very end of the picnic area and surveyed the ruins.
|Powerline Road and Las Vegas Bay|
As yet, the best guess that Chuck H. and I have is that this ruined concrete structure used to be an overlook of sorts. When the lake was at full capacity, the water came up to around 50'-100' below this point. Another speculation is that it was a science station for water traffic and water levels.
|Near junction of Powerline Road and River Mountains Loop Trail|
|Crossing the Picnic Area|
Following the use trail past the ruins, we found what we were looking for. A deep gravel trail led down the hillside. It was easy footing all the way down to a level above the Shoreline Trail that we could see below. We turned to the left and followed the use trail around the corner and dropped exactly into where our cars were parked. The alternate route instead of Hippie Canyon is great! ... And, it has a restroom!
We had too much fun, today, exploring new stuff!
Stats: 5.4 miles; 800' gain; 2.75 hours (no lunch break)